The midterm elections did not go as well as anticipated for Republicans and a lot of the blame for the underperformance has been aimed in the direction of former President Donald Trump, which has prompted sharp retorts from Trump and his most loyal supporters.
Republican Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears is among those who are now calling for Trump to step aside and allow new GOP leaders to emerge ahead of 2024, but those remarks have not been well received by the former president’s devoted fans, The Tampa Free Press reported.
The anti-Trump comments from Sears, a rising star in the Republican Party who previously supported Trump’s re-election efforts, will likely contribute to more post-election GOP infighting and risk earning her a pointed rebuke from the former president himself, as he has already dished out to others who he perceives to have crossed him.
“I could not support” Trump if he ran again
The Daily Caller reported that Lt. Gov. Sears appeared Thursday on Fox Business and spoke with ardent Trump-hater host Neil Cavuto about the election and how, in her view, it was time for Trump to step aside and fade away for the good of the party and the nation.
“Voters have spoken, and they have said that they want a different leader. And a true leader understands when they have become a liability,” she said. “A true leader understands that it’s time to step off the stage, and the voters have given us that very clear message. Because this is about America.”
Asked if that meant it was time for Trump to “step off the stage,” Sears replied, “Yes, a house divided against itself cannot stand. And indeed that’s where we are today.”
Cavuto noted that Trump could announce his 2024 candidacy as soon as next week, but Sears said, “I could not support him. I just couldn’t, because we have seen, for example, in those states where he has endorsed the candidates, in fact, Republicans on the same ticket who he did not endorse, overperformed whereas his candidates totally underperformed by as much as 10 points. We have a clear mission, and it is time to move on.”
“A true leader understands when they have become a liability. A true leader understands that it’s time to step off the stage, and the voters have given us that very clear message… I could not support him.”
—VA Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears (R) comes out against Trump’s 2024 candidacy pic.twitter.com/0g1plfHJmu
— The Recount (@therecount) November 10, 2022
The Daily Caller noted that Trump endorsed more than 400 candidates in the midterm cycle and some of his high-profile endorsees lost their races in stunning fashion, but for what it is worth, Trump claimed on Thursday that, at that moment, his endorsement record for the cycle stood at 219 wins and 16 losses.
Shots fired back and forth
The Free Press noted that some of the former president’s faithful followers have called out Sears for her remarks against Trump and have strongly implied that she is now a part of or working in concert with the “swamp” and D.C. establishment in trying to oust Trump from his perch atop the Republican Party.
That includes former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka, who wrote on Twitter that “[Sears] stabs President Trump in the back on Cavuto’s FOX Business show, saying President Trump shouldn’t run in 2024. #FakeMAGA.”
Thus far, Trump has not directly responded to the comments from Sears, but given that he has already lashed out against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), to say nothing of his repeated attacks against Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), it is likely only a matter of time before he takes a shot at Sears as well.